Quote of the Day

“The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment. The administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach.”  Emphasis added.

Bill Clinton, responding to Mitt and the GOP’s specious charge that President Obama’s giving more power to the states will “gut welfare reform.”

The GOP is sure to hear more about this — none of it kind — during Clinton’s big convention speech nominating Obama.


GOP Govs Assume the Pretzel Position

What do GOP governors hate?  They hate those Washington bureaucrats, with their one-size-fits-all rules and regulations.

What do GOP governors want?  They want more power to decide what works best in their states, for their people.

Except when they don’t.

The Obama Administration just announced that states can apply for waivers under the federal welfare law that would allow them to test other strategies for increasing employment.

You’d think conservative governors would be delighted to get more flexibility and control.  But of course they’re outraged instead.

Asked to explain why this was a bad thing, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad couldn’t.  He immediately began spouting nonsense about President Obama’s “entitlement mentality.”

“What do we want?”  “States’ rights!”  “When do we want it?”  “Um, not now, maybe some other time.”

Dumb and Dumber

There shouldn’t be one single case of whooping cough in this country.  But Washington State, with almost 1300 cases so far this year, has declared an epidemic.  It’s like the 1940’s there!

You have the dumb parents who don’t get their children immunized.

You have the dumber state politicians who have made huge cuts in local and state public health programs.  God forbid we should tax higher-income people to fund our health programs, no, let’s just slash these crucial services instead.

With a President Romney and a Paul Ryan budget, every state will be Washington State.

The GOP Keeps Unemployment High

We hear so much about jobs being outsourced.  But the job losses that are really dragging down our economy right now are public sector jobs (teacher, firefighters, police officers, etc.) that can’t be outsourced.  We’ve lost more than 600,000 of these jobs in the last three years, mostly in states controlled by Republicans.  If these jobs still existed, unemployment would be about 7%.

If you have a problem with your credit card bill, you can get help from a guy in India.  If your house is burning down, not so much.

The GOP is attacking President Obama for not reducing unemployment enough, but we’ve gained back all the private sector jobs that were lost in the Great Recession.  It’s the GOP, using their power at the state and local levels to fire people, and using their power at the federal level to block more stimulus in the form of direct aid to states to retain those teachers and firefighters, that is keeping unemployment high.


Today in The Times, On This Blog Back in February

Last February 29, I posted “Tea Party Excess in the States Will Help President Obama Win.”  I wrote in part:

“People who thought they were voting for smaller, more efficient government [in the states in 2010] found that once these candidates were sworn in, it was all abortion , all the time. … Angry voters showing up to fix things in their state houses will help President Obama stay in the White House.  I believe there will be reverse coattails in 2012.”

Today, the New York Times has a front-page story saying the same thing — “Concern in G.O.P. over State Focus on Social Issues,” by Michael Cooper:

“Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states. … One seasoned strategist called the problem potentially huge.”

Not-So-Smart ALEC

Paul Krugman places Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in the broader context of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and its adverse effect on our society*:

“And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

“What is ALEC?  Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects:  the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on.  Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators.

“Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals:  union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.   ALEC seems, however to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations.

“ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading.  To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.”  Emphasis added.

*  “Lobbyists, Guns and Money,” NYT